A slap in the face of Leave voters

The Brexit Party offered Brexit voters a choice. Now that choice has been taken away.

Joanna Williams
Topics Brexit Politics UK

Now we know that Nigel Farage does compromise. The Brexit Party is standing down its prospective parliamentary candidates in each of the 317 seats won by the Tories in the 2017 election. Better to have Brexit under Boris than risk a second referendum under Labour, explained Nigel the pragmatist – despite having spent the past fortnight arguing, convincingly, that Boris’s deal isn’t actually Brexit at all.

This is a slap in the face for everyone who in 2016 voted to leave the EU in order to take back control. It’s a two-fingered salute to all of us who considered Brexit to be about something much bigger and more important than concocted deals and agreements reached behind closed doors. For many voters, Brexit was about wrestling back democratic control not just from Brussels-based bureaucrats, but also from our own political class. Farage’s decision to pull candidates from so many constituencies risks putting politics back out of the reach of regular people.

The Brexit Party has played a vital role in defending the referendum result. It provided a genuine option for Leave voters in this year’s EU elections – elections that were never supposed to happen and were held at a time when Theresa May (remember her?) hoped to push through parliament a deal worse than remaining in the EU. If it wasn’t for the Brexit Party, May might still be prime minister, Boris would never have renegotiated a deal with the EU, and we wouldn’t be having a General Election now. The Brexit Party made democracy meaningful when just about every other party wished it would go away.

But with this decision to stand down candidates, politics risks going back to being an elite stitch-up. Clearly, there is a pragmatic argument that, under our first-past-the-post electoral system, the Brexit Party could have split the Leave vote and inadvertently helped usher in a hung parliament. Worse, it could have led to a Remainer-filled House of Commons determined to push through a second referendum that would do far more damage to democracy than even Boris’s deal.

This was always on the cards. With hindsight, perhaps the Brexit Party should have campaigned more for democratic reform and proportional representation, two of its more interesting proposals, rather than the abolition of inheritance tax and free WiFi on buses. Nonetheless, as Brendan O’Neill has pointed out on spiked, Farage’s compromise could allow the electorate to give the anti-democrats a bloody nose, even if it also calls into question the Brexit Party’s claim to be a principled party committed to leaving the EU and upholding democracy.

But however worthy the motives behind yesterday’s decision, there is a huge difference between individuals making a tactical decision to opt for one candidate over another and prospective Brexit Party MPs being withdrawn by the party’s institutional hierarchy. By pulling candidates, the Brexit Party is denying voters the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to opt for pragmatism or principle.

I live in Canterbury, a constituency that famously elected a Labour candidate in 2017 for the first time in 100 years. Ultra-Remainer Rosie Duffield holds the seat with a tiny minority. I have been thinking long and hard about whether to vote Conservative with the hope of getting Duffield out or whether to vote for the eminently likeable and honourable Brexit Party candidate, Owen Prew. Voting Conservative will strike a blow against the Remainers; voting for the Brexit Party will let me express my concern about Boris’s deal. I am slowly coming to terms with the prospect of voting Conservative. What’s important is that having this choice makes a decision not just possible, but meaningful.

While the choice exists, questions are raised and arguments are had out with friends and family. Central to these discussions are questions not just about how Brexit should be implemented, but also where we should be headed more broadly. When competing visions of our nation’s future are debated in this way, then democracy becomes about more than just putting a cross on a ballot paper come 12 December. Withdrawing Brexit Party candidates means that the decision about which version of Leave to vote for has been made on our behalf. Voters have been put firmly in their place once more.

This is clearly not the end of the fight for either democracy or Brexit. But it is frustrating to see vitally important debates being closed down prematurely. The Brexit Party prides itself on having large numbers of paid-up supporters. I am one of them. That we weren’t offered a vote on an electoral pact with the Conservatives exposes the limits of a political party that prefers to act like a business with satisfied customers than a party with disgruntled members. We had a foreshadowing of these limitations just days earlier with the announcement that Richard Tice, the Brexit Party chairman and benefactor, will stand in the Leave stronghold of Hartlepool. Tice has no connection to the area yet expressed few qualms about replacing the popular local businessman who had already been picked to stand.

Come polling day, it might come as a shock to the leaders of every party to discover that voters are not all driven by pragmatism over principle. Not all Leave voters are prepared to put their cross next to the Conservative Party candidate – even if it is Nigel Farage urging us to do so.

Joanna Williams is associate editor at spiked. She is the director of the new think tank, Cieo. Find out more about it here.

Picture by: Getty

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


alan smithee

1st December 2019 at 7:07 am

A vote for Farage is a vote for Corbyn and Remain. It’s a wasted vote.

James Kershaw

13th November 2019 at 9:57 am

It’s not a slap in the face, it’s a helping hand.

If the Conservatives win this election, we are going to become as independent of the EU as Canada are. The ideas about “common rule book” etc.. have been binned, and we will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union entirely. It is now the policy of a mainstream party to permanently leave the EU, killing off the idea of a “people’s vote”, and “close alignment”. It’s also a diplomatic exit, that will leave us with a friendly on-going relationship with the EU.

It’s interesting to reflect on how different these times are from the days of Cameron and Osborne. The Conservatives have moved, and it’s why MPs have left the party, complaining that it’s not the party they joined. It’s why the whip was withdrawn from MPs who voted for the “surrender act”, and its why new candidates who have signed up the party line on Brexit. It’s also why the party are fighting very hard to cling onto seats in the “remainer” lands of the South, and in Scotland.

It’s not everything, but Brexit is not a single event, it is a process. When we have left, the Brexit party will evolve and grow. I think it will become a more democratic party, possibly under a new leader. It will push mainstream politics even further than it has.

One thing is for sure, if the Conservatives loose, Brexit is dead.

Marvin Jones

13th November 2019 at 2:04 pm

I agree with you. Just as the arrogant and ignorant Liberal traitors of democracy are not about win enough seats to justify being a party, Nigel and his group must be patient. His time will come, but not now. Now we must rely on this untrustworthy Buffoon to get us unshackled from this dreadful EU fatberg, even if only to get the ball rolling, even though I think he has sacrificed free movement and our fishing waters. TBP needs to get some seats in Parliament and start building.


14th November 2019 at 5:05 pm

“Brexit is not a single event, it is a process”

LEAVING THE EU is very clear and simple it means:

NO MORE EU LAWS OR REGULATIONS (unless we choose to adopt them)


Anything else is a FRAUD and a BETRAYAL, and is NOT WHAT WE VOTED FOR NOR WHAT WAS PROMISED. Johnson’s “DEAL” is NOT the above and is therefore A FRAUDULENT BETRAYAL.

I would have bvoted LEAVE ONLY to get all our fishing rights back and undo the hideous betraxyal of our fishermen, but we haven’t got that AT ALL. And paying the EU thirty-nine billion quid we DO NOT HAVE TO PAY is just stupefyingly insane.

The Tories have betrayed democracy, their promises, our fishermen, the taxpayer, and that is without the horrendous illegal immigration, the crimewave, the obscene situation in prisons, the courts, housing and so on.


SNJ Morgan

13th November 2019 at 12:42 am

I agree with much of this, but I think Melanie Phillips’ arguments just win the day:


It’s true we’re not going to get a proper Brexit with Johnson, but I do think the threat of Corbyn / a second referendum / a hung parliament outweigh the very valid points made here.

Of course this is exactly what Johnson was betting on. He has cleverly outmanoeuvred someone who could and should have been seen as an ally, and I like Johnson even less because of it.


12th November 2019 at 11:59 pm

‘everyone who in 2016 voted to leave the EU in order to take back control.’ —

Are you Brexit fanatics still bleating on about that? Why do you persist in believing Cummings’ lie? You are wresting ‘control’ from the EU only to hand it to (mostly American) corporatists, offshore funds, asset strippers and unaccountable conglomerates. What is the point of that? The only people who will benefit from that are Jacob Rees Mogg and people like Jacob Rees Mogg. You fools.

SNJ Morgan

13th November 2019 at 12:49 am

We’d far rather hand over control to unaccountable US conglomerates than unaccountable communists in the EUSSR, thanks very much.

Not that we’d really be handing any control over to them.

James Knight

12th November 2019 at 8:19 pm

This might make sense if the Tories reciprocated or made some substantial change to the withdrawal agreement. But there is no sign of that.

The real reason for this depressing state of affairs is that the Tories and Johnson see Brexit not as an opportunity, but something to “get done” like it was the washing up. That tells you something of the depth of their conviction. There are plenty for remoaners in the Tory party and they would probably rather have a hung parliament or Corbyn in power than a full fat Brexit.

antoni orgill

12th November 2019 at 6:31 pm

Boris seems to be obsessed with his digestive tract. But, will he be eating nothing more substantial than Jacob Rees-Mogg’s words on 13th December? The purpose of this post is mainly to get on Moxon’s tits … let’s see what happens, readers …

Winston Stanley

12th November 2019 at 5:39 pm

The all-or-nothing, winner-takes-all approach to elections reinforces the two-party system – as does FPTP. It will be ironic if Brexit simply does the same – “vote TP or risk JC and the loss of all Brexit” vs. “vote JC or risk a TP Brexit.”

Perhaps the only way to break that cycle would have been for TBP to be willing to let JC into no 10 and to scupper Brexit. Then TBP could have emerged as a serious contender for no 10 at the following GE. The TP would have failed, LP would have failed and TBP could have stood forward.

Thinking strategically, I am not sure that I would mind if JC got in. I never cared for the TP and its mentality anyway.

The idea that everything has to be secured at a single GE simply reinforces the two-party system. It is like playing chess but you are only allowed to look one move ahead. The aim is not to win a single GE but to move the case for democracy further on, which has to involve breaking down the two-party system. Sadly TBP has now reinforced it.

From there we go for the destruction of FPTP and implement a direct referenda system of genuine democracy. The established parties are never going to allow that because they want power for themselves.

The other path to secure democracy is simply to break up the UK, starting with Scotland and NI and then looking at Wales, Cornwall and the English regions. The establishment parties want to keep UK together so that they can have power over a larger area and more people. So, we simply take regions off them and work to establish democracy there.

> Boris Johnson’s general election poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn has narrowed to six points as support for the Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party went backwards.
The Survation poll puts the Lib Dems on 17 per cent, down two points on the previous survey, while the Brexit Party is now on 10 per cent, also down two points.
The poll suggests that the two smaller parties are being squeezed by their larger rivals in the run up to December 12.
A similar pattern was seen at the 2017 general election as the Conservatives and Labour gradually won support during the campaign as they both polled in the high thirties and even low forties. – DM

– another new poll is just out, TBP has collapsed and TP is riding high.

jessica christon

12th November 2019 at 5:21 pm

I’ll get a BP candidate because I live in a Labour consistency, but I no longer see Nigel Farage as trustworthy and I hate the Boris BrINO even more than remaining, so I’ll sit this one out with you!

jessica christon

12th November 2019 at 5:22 pm

@ Winston Stanley

Skeptic 1972

12th November 2019 at 5:02 pm

I strongly disagree. The man decided to deliberately limit his own political power to make it more likely that Brexit will happen, instead of Labor gaining power because Brexiters are split into two. This decision has a downside, which the article points out, but it is rare to see someone who puts the country before his party so clearly.

Alan Hill

12th November 2019 at 3:56 pm

I’ve followed Farage for a number of years ( decades in fact ) and have come to the following conclusions.:

He’s a world class public speaker

He is not a very nice person and can be pretty nasty to subordinates.

He has a massive ego.

He has poor judgement particularly where the Tory Party is concerned.

As a committed Brexiteer I do not trust him.

Marvin Jones

13th November 2019 at 2:21 pm

He is also a ranting narcissist who listens to no one but Cummings. But surely you would want him on your side.

Alex Ander

12th November 2019 at 3:50 pm

I would argue that the gulf between voting Tory versus voting for any of Lib Dem, Labour, Greens – the remain alliance, is a huge one – and an insurmountable one.
This isn’t the case when considering voting Tory versus Brexit party.
So what’s the issue? Do you want Brexit or not?

Linda Payne

12th November 2019 at 3:41 pm

I live in a safe Tory seat in sevenoaks; I will never vote Tory so I am spoiling my ballot paper

Bella Donna

13th November 2019 at 9:28 am

I’ll be spoiling my ballot too. Farage has shot himself in the foot, people won’t trust him anymore He did the same to UKIP. For Boris its a win win, he delivers a lukewarm Brexit and annihilates TBP at the same time.

Willie Penwright

12th November 2019 at 3:18 pm

It’s a slap in the face all right – to those who are too dumb to realise that splitting the Brexit vote makes way for endless Remainer dithering and posturing. Nigel has astutely and with much statesmanship ensured that the lesser Brexit deal now stands a chance of getting through rather than the pure one he has campaigned for. The voters are lucky to have a Brexit leader with the courage and conviction to do what was necessary to thwart the Remainers.

No-one Important

12th November 2019 at 1:39 pm

It’s the arrogance I find off-putting; THEY have decided that MY vote will now be transferred from the Brexit Party to the tories have they? How wrong can you be? My vote will now go to the Monster Raving Loony Party, or even the Ottery Mary Presbyterian Society for Fallen Women … one place it will most certainly not be going is the tory Party. Think again, chaps.

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 1:23 pm

Think some sort of arrangement like this is probably prudent, pragmatically speaking, but why a blanket policy covering every Tory seat?

Also sheds light on how decisions are made in TBP? Is it a one-man show.

Garreth Byrne

12th November 2019 at 1:22 pm

The first-past-the-post electoral system deprives many voters, sometimes a majority of the voters, of a proportionate representation in parliament. Proportional Representation is desperately needed for local and general elections.

Willie Penwright

12th November 2019 at 3:23 pm

Exactly. Britain should adopt the electoral system that operates in that integral part of the UK, Northern Ireland. Imagine the row there’d be if Britain tried to introduce the loaded Westminster election system there.

Winston Stanley

12th November 2019 at 4:17 pm

Yep, that is worth noting. My seat is so safe that there really is no point in me voting anyway. I am going to simply sit this GE out. I want direct democracy so that I can vote on specific policies. FPTP is designed to shut out the demos and I am as disenfranchised as it is possible to be. I am not convinced that PR would enfranchise me either. Direct democracy hs got to be the only path to go. We have no democracy and realistically speaking there seems to be no chance of us getting one.

Forlorn Dream

12th November 2019 at 12:42 pm

I’m a Brexiteer who would like nothing better than for us to leave today, now. Just walk away with no deal and no blood money spent.

That said, there are other concerns. Above all, Commie Corbyn and his gang of misfits must be kept from No10. If they get into power they’ll throw us straight back into the dark days of the ’70s when we were the sick man of Europe. I’m just about old enough to remember the power cuts and shortages of those days. If Commie Corbyn gets into power he’ll re-nationalise everything he can, empower the unions and spend and borrow like a drunken sailor to prop it all up. After a few years of that we’ll be praying for another Thatcher to step in and sort out the bankrupted mess.

Perhaps Farage realises the true threat and has therefore decided not to split the sane vote. There’s also the possibility of the Brexit Party making huge gains in the Leave voting Labour held areas. They may still decimate Labour to become a viable party in the Commons.

Linda Payne

12th November 2019 at 5:09 pm

Yeah much better now with low wages and zero rights

melanie pursglove

12th November 2019 at 11:56 am

I am in Stafford – Leave constituency and gifted with a second rate Remoaning Tory MP for the last 9 years – the last three years of which he has spent trying to overturn referendum result. He is standing down and CCHQ have parachuted in a Tory candidate who lives in Bristol, has failed twice there and has no connection with our constituency at all. We had a very good BP candidate who lived locally and was in touch with local issues – one of which is HS2. Lib Dums and Labour have little chance here. Many of us here wanted politics to change and to have an MP working for us. We are now disenfranchised. No doubt that the Tory will be elected but it will be a low turnout. I suspect that I will be sitting it out

Dean Laccohee

12th November 2019 at 11:32 am

I live in the one of the safest Conservative seats in the country (Huntingdon) – the Tory MP is a remainer, despite the fact that Huntingdon voted in favour of leaving by 54%. Labour candidate here is also pro-remain so as a Leave voter myself, the choice is now limited! In fact, I’m now considering not voting at all – it seems pretty pointless.

david rawson

12th November 2019 at 3:18 pm

Yes, regarding Brexit it will be pointless, but not to keep out a Labour MP. Corbyn must be stopped, he’s dangerous

Ed Turnbull

12th November 2019 at 11:19 am

I think this article somewhat over-eggs the proverbial. It seems to ignore that BoJo clarified his position on Brexit and seeking a deal, and that Farage’s decision was predicated on those clarifications, to wit:

1) the transition period would not be extended beyond the end of 2020
2) BoJo would be seeking a free trade agreement with the EU devoid of any political alignment.

To me that sounds fairly Brexit-y. Okay, it’s a not the WTO Brexit that many desire, though that will surely come to pass if no agreement is reached with the EU by the end of 2020. And let’s not forget that Farage’s preference was always for a deal, just not May’s surrender deal, or that which BoJo initially put forward.

So, I’m quite heartened by Farage’s new tactic: it avoids splitting the Brexit vote unnecessarily, and will, hopefully, result in some Brexit Party MPs who can act as an impetus to a Tory Leaver-dominated, government to actually deliver a meaningful Brexit.

And if BoJo fails to achieve an overall majority (unlikely going by current polls, but not impossible) then a cadre of BP MPs would be a vital component – along with the DUP – in a coalition to achieve a ‘proper’ Brexit.

Gareth Edward KING

12th November 2019 at 11:09 am

Yes, I’m disappointed too. There’s no way I can bring myself to vote Tory in Shropshire (or anywhere). So, if the Brexit Party has been so emphatically against Johnson’s deal, why have they turned a full 360 degrees? I hope there’s a BP candidate, but if not, who’ll it be? the SDP? I’ll be interested to see how Clare Fox feels about this in her NW constituency. I can’t imagine she’s stood down. Even if the leave vote would’ve been divided, it’s still a matter of principle if Johnson’s deal is but BRINO and not Brexit which was why the BP came back into being in the spring: it’s entire raison d’etre.

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 1:28 pm

Claire Fox is an MEP.

madeup name

12th November 2019 at 11:07 am

The thing that irritates me about this decision, is the inconsistency of it.
If the policy was that the Brexit Party won’t stand against Leave-voting MPs – even the lightweights, that would be consistent enough; but this blanket announcement lets Remainer Tory MPs retain their seats in some constituencies.

Nevertheless, it is important that the BP don’t squander money on seats where they will undermine the best case outcome – which is to just get out of the EU, and tidy up the loose ends afterwards.

The BP does need some voice, and in the 20-30 seats where they can have an impact, either in getting elected, such as Thurrock, Boston, and Hartlepool; or in eating into the Labour vote, particularly in parts of the eastern half of England, and in parts of Wales, they need to be there, as an alternative to Labour that isn’t Tory (because many working class people can’t bring themselves to vote Tory, as much as they dislike what Labour has become), and that most definitely isn’t the ruthlessly cynical LibDems; many parties have threatened to serve that purpose but never quite stuck around… the BNP was too hot; UKIP was too cold; could Brexit Party be the goldilocks option?

I wish Nigel had been a little more selective, and focus his guns on trying to stop Remainer MPs of every flavour, as well as trying to get a few MPs over the line, and hammering Labour in the WWC areas.

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 1:29 pm

Yes I agree, a bit of a scattergun approach.

steve moxon

12th November 2019 at 2:32 pm

Exactly what I was going to post. Why not contest Tawdry Bremoaners? They are almost as problematic for Brexit as are Liebore MPs. All Liebore MPs need to be fought because they are seeking election on a Bremoaner policy and will be subject to a Bremoaner whip (never mind at least paying lip service to Corybinistan, but Bremoaner Tawdries have shown they will repeatedly shun a Brexit whip.
OTOH, many of the worst Tawdry rats have jumped (every) ship and opted for the wilderness, or are standing for the GlibDems.
Of course, in practice, effort will be put in where it makes most sense, and the word will be out whether it’s the Tawdries or the BP who are being squeezed. The trouble is that this doesn’t get through to a substantial slice of the electorate.


12th November 2019 at 10:42 am

>>That we weren’t offered a vote on an electoral pact with the Conservatives exposes the limits of a political party that prefers to act like a business with satisfied customers than a party with disgruntled members.<<
Why would you be if such a pact was vetoed by the Tories?

The question is WHY it was vetoed. My fears are that it's because the Tories are not serious about Brexit. If that's the case, the BXP/SDP/UkIP can come in post-election and pile on the pressure

Marvin Jones

13th November 2019 at 2:18 pm

I think that the Tories should offer Nigel a coalition and fight every leave constituency that has a remain MP together, I assume it would double the chances of winning. BUT! BJ is terrified of Nigel and his party becoming more popular than him and the Tories in time, hence keeping TBP just out of reach.

Jim Lawrie

12th November 2019 at 10:35 am

So, Joanna, if you vote for them they morph from Tories to Conservatives?

The appeal to the older voter vis-a-vis inheritance tax and the younger ones with free wi-fi shows that BP think we are swayed by gimmicks rather than political substance. It suggests they consider your points too hibrow for us.

Stephen Nash

12th November 2019 at 10:20 am

As a supporter of the Brexit Party I too am disappointed by this decision. The Political class including the Conservative Party and Boris Johnson are all committed to killing the spirit of Brexit and to ‘get Brexit done’ so that they can re-establish their technocratic rule once again. How ever you wrap it up Boris’s new EU treaty is in many ways worse than remaining (see Jon Holbrook’s article) and the Brexit Party had to stand as an independent force against the whole political class in order to make this point. In order to gain traction a new independent politics needs to identify itself as against the whole political class and its technocratic methods.

Jim Lawrie

12th November 2019 at 11:30 am

The urgency and immediacy of not returning to the Parliamentary situation of the last 3 months, and the need for a Parliamentary majority is what swayed it. When the nature of the withdrawal agreement is made manifest, we can have a referendum to tear it up. And the Supreme Court at the same time.

The decision has been made, so we must move on.
I am no less disappointed than yourself, Ms Williams and others on here.

Genghis Kant

12th November 2019 at 10:09 am

It is undoubtedly essential that the UK gets out from the EU before the monolith collapses with us under it.

However, it is vital that before then the menace of the Corbyn Labour party is defeated, and – with a bit of luck – completely destroyed.

Ven Oods

12th November 2019 at 1:13 pm

Pretty much identical to my own take, Genghis. Political purity would be lovely, but if this keeps Jezza in opposition, and the BP gets enough seats to worry BoJo, then we might just be peering at that proverbial ‘end-of-tunnel’ light.


13th November 2019 at 12:00 am

The ‘monolith’ looks pretty solid at the moment. Not so sure about little Blighty though… Caledonia and the Six Counties look like they may be headed towards freedom…

John Millson

12th November 2019 at 9:28 am

Merely shows the serious miscalculation of the ever-ridiculous Farage. Of course the Brexit Party, on 9%, were never going to seriously threaten the Tories in so many seats. The man is deluded. Bombast and bravado is never enough.

Jerry Owen

12th November 2019 at 9:52 am

John Millson
Reduced to soundbites eh !
Farage in case you missed it is the man solely responsible for achieving a referendum for the British people who in the a referendum voted to leave the EU.
Still going on anti Brexit demos are we ?

John Millson

12th November 2019 at 10:28 am

Jerry Owen,
Firstly, I’ve never been on an anti-Brexit demo. I am a realist – hoped for something which delivered on the result in a pragmatic way.
Re Farage. Granted the man has charisma and is an effective communicator/provocator. He was a thorn in the flesh for Cameron, so something had to be done. But that doesn’t make him a consummate political strategist. I don’t see any big brains, with influence in the BXP and that is probably due to Farage’s distorted and fragile ego. Classic. Thin-skinned and paranoid. Just like his mate in the White House.

Jerry Owen

12th November 2019 at 11:32 am

John Millson
You have admitted yourself you went on an anti Brexit demo outside of parliament.
If you lie here, you lose all credibility.

John Millson

12th November 2019 at 1:10 pm

Jerry Owen,
The last demo I attended was the Anti-Prorogation Protest, at Downing Street, Saturday 31st August.
Defending Parliamentary democracy, which many Leavers would agree with. ‘Take back control’ Eh?

John Millson

12th November 2019 at 2:09 pm

Jerry Owen
Postscript to last reply.
Previous to Anti-Prorogation, the last demo was the anti-Trump State Visit, 2018. Previous to that was the one against bombing Syria, 2013.
I have never been on any ‘Peoples’ anti-Brexit marches.

Jerry Owen

12th November 2019 at 5:11 pm

John Millson
Glad you admit I am right.
I saw the anti Brexit banners at that demo.

Hugh Bryant

12th November 2019 at 9:08 am

‘The Brexit Party offered Brexit voters a choice’.

Yes – the choice between Remain and a BRINO based on staying in the Single Market and Customs Union made in a referendum overseen by Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson.

Some choice.

alan smithee

12th November 2019 at 9:06 am

Disingenuous article since a vote for Farage would result in a vote for Corbyn.

Sian Muthusamy

12th November 2019 at 9:02 am

Much as I would love to have voted BXP, the reality is should JC get in and implement his proposals to gerrymander the electorate he will succeed in both killing off ANY sort of Brexit and prevent anything other than a far left government from ever being elected in the future.
We can thank TM for her never ending crappy decisions, from losing her majority in a pointless election to thinking no one would notice her deal was actually remain for Boris’s deal being the best we can manage at the moment.

geoff carr

12th November 2019 at 8:57 am

So you would throw away leaving the EU and view it as a price worth paying for giving the “anti democrats a bloody nose”? Really?

Phil Ford

12th November 2019 at 8:43 am

I think Farage has done the right thing. In an ideal world, he and Johnson could have patched up their ideological differences and together fought a united front against the very real dangers of a toxic Labour/LibDem/SNP pact. What we have (as someone else here has observed) is a pragmatic compromise – still not perfect, but the best either party will allow themselves – and it might be enough to get Brexit finally (finally!) over the finish line. Frankly, I’ll take it. I just want this to get done.

Jim Lawrie

12th November 2019 at 10:42 am

Nigel Farage will be seen as pragmatic, principled and honourable once this tactical withdrawal has been digested. He is redeploying his troops, not standing them down.

Jerry Owen

12th November 2019 at 8:01 am

Having read Brendan’s piece yesterday and he made some good points, and reading this article now.. ‘ pragmatism or principle ‘ I am with Joanna on this one.
We had an opportunity to start something big here, the dismantling of the two party system, now the BP is a kind of local pressure group.
Bad decision from Nigel. If Boris doesn’t reciprocate standing down some of his candidates, it will be obvious that he is not interested in Brexit only achieving office.
Brexit is sliding away.

Geoff Cox

12th November 2019 at 7:19 am

This election (if all goes well and Boris gets a majority of about 30) will just get Brexit 1 done. Brexit 2 will be negotiated and fought for all over again through 2020 (and hopefully not longer). The Brexit Party still has a huge roll to play – as does UKIP possibly – to make sure walking away with “no deal” ie wto at the end of the Transition Period is a real threat. Only then will we be able to agree a free trade deal with the EU which doesn’t see us compromising on laws, borders, fishing etc.

Bella Donna

13th November 2019 at 9:30 am

UKIP is in its deadthroes – no leader, no money most supporters left to follow Farage.

Ian Davies

12th November 2019 at 6:50 am

Altruism is nice but not in the least pragmatic. Leave has been outplayed from the moment the Tories thought they were being real slick in appointing Theresa May as PM to oversee the process. Now apparently they sell themselves as the only party to achieve Brexit, any old Brexit. Blazingly treacherous but what do we do, this is where we are. Fighting the rear guard action in voting on principle will get us precisely zero and frankly, I regard Labour in office as a graver threat than a watered down Brexit so if this move at least avoids that we have gained something out of this mess.

brent mckeon

12th November 2019 at 5:49 am

Politics is the art of the possible and alliances are part of the possible

Steve Gray

12th November 2019 at 6:22 am


So you’re conceding that democracy isn’t possible ? This might be a good time to start thinking outside that ever-shrinking box that the elites expect the rest of us to squeeze into.

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 1:27 pm

I think we have to acknowledge the possibility that Brexit doesn’t happen at all so have to be a bit pragmatic even if it sticks in the throat.

Steve Gray

12th November 2019 at 1:52 pm


If you ask me, this is no time for pragmatism – at this point, everyone starts laughing but I’ll explain why I think it’s a bad idea to ‘get real’.

Firstly, within the political sphere as it stands, a ‘go with what there is’ approach is putting the cart before the horse – a bit like the Labour Party of old framing the aspiratons of working people, within ‘appropriate boundaries’ – i.e. no big changes please, TINA . Cue a return to sleepy old zombie politics. Zzz.

Secondly, the change has to come from the ground up, so with that in mind, a blue-sky ‘Why can’t we have this?’ approach is what opens the door to new ideas and, thence, to new approaches to politics. This is where the most fanatical supporters of the status quo will denounce popular democracy as ‘utopian’ and so on. But they are, of course, ‘in the marsh’.

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 2:09 pm

I completely understand where you’re coming from, and I have a lot of sympathy with your view. It’s an eternal struggle in politics.

Perhaps it comes down to how important you think Brexit is. If you’re prepared to sacrifice Brexit (or run the risk of it) and play a long game, then you could argue that you remain “pure” and eventually might get somewhere.

However if we get another hung parliament or a remainer alliance we will be back to business as usual (your zzz) and if TBP has no members (which could happen either way) they will have every excuse to pretend the referendum never happened.

But I am torn and once upon a time would probably have argued your case.

Steve Gray

12th November 2019 at 2:24 pm


To keep it brief, people are going to vote for what they think is best but the key thing is to maintain an interest in developing visions of the future, of nurturing the sense that if people want change, they can make it happen.

There might have to be another Brexit Party, if Mr Farage isn’t up to the task of leading this one. There might have to be another demand for popular involvement in politics. So be it.

Why let the outcome of this particular game of Westminster Chess dictate the rules for all future attempts, by the populace -at-large, to get progress ?

Eric Praline

12th November 2019 at 2:48 pm

Because Brexit is the best chance of bringing about a seismic change to British politics. You can see the effect it’s had already and we haven’t even left. Another chance like this is unlikely to come around for a long time. We’ve had a 2 party system for more than a century and even though you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with much enthusiasm for it it can, and will, stagger on for another century unless we try for something drastic.

If Brexit happens, it can be used to engender developing visions of the future.

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